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Offer To Te Arawa On Lakes Claim Final

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia have made offers to Te Arawa that, if accepted, will settle all claims over 14 lakes in the Rotorua area. The offer delivers on a promise made by Margaret Wilson two months ago to come back with a proposal by the end of May.

The offers will ensure that all existing public access rights to the lakes are preserved.

Under the proposal the Crown will acknowledge Te Arawa's association and relationship with the lakes and apologise for failing to revisit the annuity paid to Te Arawa for the lakes when it lost value.

In addition, the surface of the lake beds will be vested in Te Arawa.

Te Arawa will have a formal role in the strategic management of all the lakes in conjunction with the others involved in the proposed Lakes Forum. The Forum includes representatives of all groups with a statutory interest in the lakes: Te Arawa, the Eastern Fish and Game Council, the Rotorua District Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and the Department of Conservation.

The Crown proposes that the Rotorua District Council control and manage the lake beds on a day-to-day basis. Two lakes – Tutaeinanga and Ngapouri - will continue to be managed by the Eastern Fish and Game Council.

Margaret Wilson's offer includes money in settlement of all Te Arawa historical grievances related to the lakes. The Minister of Maori Affairs has made a separate offer to buy-out the annuity. The amounts of the offers are being communicated to Te Arawa but have not been made public to allow negotiations to go ahead.

"Te Arawa has shown good faith in entering into negotiations which have included considerable input from the wider Bay of Plenty community. The Crown has responded by fast-tracking the settlement process this year. That promise has been kept. The offer is made in the spirit of bringing people together to achieve a lasting solution that works for the whole community," said the Ministers.

Ends

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